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  #131  
Old 05-24-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Did Capt'n Hook do single handed sailing?
Yep... and I reckon he wasn't the only one!!


If you're going out on your own, or even with others, remember that it is your responsibility to check that all of the safety gear you have on board is in good enough shape to save the boat and/or your life. This discussion has gone on about saftey harnesses, lifelines, ropes and ladders - but none of this is any good, and can in some cases actually be harmful, if the gear itself is faulty, cheap or generally Made In China. Ask yourself: "How much is my life worth?"

Things I've seen myself (on both mine when I bought it and on other peoples boats as they are today):
1. Lifelines - as discussed already.
2. Toe-rails/bulwarks - nope! If you miss your footing on the foredeck, you'll be under the (high with no lacing) lifelines and over the side quicker'n you can think..
3. Fire extingishers - so far past their use-by date there isn't an ounce of gas left in them. You might as well just throw them at the fire..
4. Safety harnesses - rusty clips and/or frayed webbing (like, you'll trust your life with that?)
5. Inflatable life jackets - last tested when purchased (ten years ago!) with cylinders so corroded they can't be unscrewed.
6. Boarding ladders - with loose fixings that might or might not hold when you really need them to.
7. Bulkhead compass - that didn't read properly on some headings because some bunny installed a shelf immediately behind it using screws from the local hardware store!
8. Bilge pumps - with no debris strainer.
9. Anchor chain - undersized and rusty. Would it hold in a blow? I dunno..
10. Cockpit thru-hulls - plastic, below the water line, with no shut-off valve of any description and in a location so inaccessible at sea that if one was leaking you might as well just call a 'mayday' and jump over the side now than risk your life getting to it.. (this last one was on my boat! ).

Feel free to add your own "discoveries" to the list..
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  #132  
Old 05-25-2011
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I think that the biggest safetly asset AND biggest liability on my boat while single handing is the dude holding the tiller! I think we all need to work to move our attitude regarding safety from the latter to the former.
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  #133  
Old 05-25-2011
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I have done a serious amount of single handed sailing. The best advice I ever got was not to run your jacklines outside the shrouds so that you can walk the length of the boat. This will put you outside the lifelines and in the water every time.

A much better method is to run them right down the center line with a harness that does not allow you to go over the side. You can always leave the harness connected to the jack line, having the end leading into the cockpit. Have a second one in the cockpit for when you are steering or trimming sails.

Once you are off the boat and outside the lifelines you are dead. Carry a sharp knife so you can cut yourself loose if needed, but even in moderate water temps you won't last long. As for the sailor that died on Lake Michigan, he went off the bow and under the lifelines, and dragged to his death. Lifeline webbing at the bow would have saved his life. It was a very tragic accident.
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  #134  
Old 05-29-2011
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Many thoughts on planned safety and safety plans...

I haven't single handed yet, but I plan to do so extensively, once I get my boat wet...

So all my thoughts below are theoretical and research based (much through here), and have as yet no practical testing by me. But it seems to me that a safer system would include:

personal gear:
  • auto inflatable PFD with ORC harness - get into the habit of wearing it all the time just like seatbelts; and, depending on where you sail and how closely with others, for the PFD pockets:
  • hand held and waterproof VHF;
  • whistle;
  • light for your life jacket switchable between strobe and steadily-on to make final stages of pick-up easier;
  • EPIRB and or SPOT... at least they'll know reasonably accurately the location where you disappeared.

boat setup:
  • hold down line with cam/jam cleating, for the cabin hatch boards so they don't dislodge in a knock-down and down-flood the cabin;
  • high toe rails, perhaps at least two inches if possible (keeps tools on board as well as you );
  • properly anchored and diagonally braced pulpit/pushpit and stanchions, (on which there was a study and several updates - by the Annapolis Naval Academy) capable of withstanding the force that one's body will impose on them after a say three foot acceleration through space;
  • snaking between toe rail and lower line, pushpit to mast (see BBC video, where a man goes overboard out of the cockpit), and between toe rail and upper line forward of the mast including pulpit (I don't want to have to try and retrieve a foresail blown through the life lines... );
  • handrails either side of the hatchway from cockpit onto the cabin top for safely coming 'on deck' and climbing onto cabin top for working at the mast;
  • granny bars would be helpful for working at the mast, but my deck's not wide enough;
  • centre line jack line(s), cockpit to mast, and mast to short of bow;
  • possibly a bow to transom jackline, slack, below the toe rail, so if you do go over, you can clip onto it and wash around to the transom where you might have a chance of re-boarding if you have an accessible hoist (yes, this needs one tether attached to your Screamer (see below) that won't ever otherwise be clipped to the boat);
  • nylon dock line used for jacklines, diameter determined according to length of jackline;
  • jacklines to have webbing sheaths with fluorescent colour for daytime visibility, and reflective stripe and photo-luminescent for night visibility;
  • jacklines not bar tight, to help reduce deceleration and especially the anchor pull-out forces;
  • tethers of 1 inch tubular webbing with appropriate hooks tied onto each end with 'figure eight follow through' knots or 'overhand on a bight' knots, BUT I'm open for discussion/correction on these knots when used with webbing;
  • short tethers that only allow kneeling on deck, which might change after seeing how this works;
  • tethers permanently clipped onto the jackline(s) so you can clip on from inside the cabin before coming 'on deck' into the action zone, can return into the cabin before un-clipping, can be clipped on twice during the transition around the mast to go to the foredeck, won't trip over your tether below, and can always find a tether to clip-on before coming on-deck;
  • as many tethers clipped on each of the jackline(s) as there are crew on board;
  • Wichard or Gibb locking snap hooks on the boat end of tether, and a wire gate carabiner (more secure than a quick release snap shackle and reportedly just as easy to open under load with one hand) on the crew end;
  • since UV degrades tethers and jacklines, replacement every few years - perhaps five or so - is in order;
  • fall arresters (Screamers) borrowed from the climbers to decelerate movement and prevent rib cage damage from a sudden stop, permanently clipped onto the life jacket - clip the tether to the Screamer, as even just a three foot free-fall can break a rib; and most importantly
  • a small sign posted on inside and outside of the hatchway warning that the lifelines are energised with 10,000 volts of electricity, and that on the other side of them is a 10,000 foot drop!
The event captured in the BBC video of the sailor going overboard occurred after he had just unclipped to go below! The wave that took him made it appear that he just dived overboard between the deck and lower lifeline; his arms go forward to catch his fall, and through and over he goes.... as smoothly as can be! Scored at least 5.9 for style...

Always wear the PFD, and clip on at night, in fog, in 'lumpy' seas, in winds much over 10-15 knots wind speed, and when on deck alone - if you go over, wave the boat goodbye as you part company and, as 'Blondie' Hassler put it, "die like a gentleman...", especially if you decided to pee over the stern rail, in harbour, at night, while drinking! (Seriously, one hand for yourself around the back-stay, and one hand for yourself around... well you know what I mean! )

Ensure that appropriate safety checks (make a 'preflight' check list for your circumstances, boat and fear level) are done seasonally and each time before setting out to avoid the hazards described by Hartley18.

Be totally paranoid about not falling off and terrified about doing so, there is no 'Twelve Step' recovery programme, falling off this wagon is lethal and final.

And having done all that planning for the worst, hope for the best, relax, and enjoy the ride!

When we choose to go out in harm's way, not knowing or even being able to predict with any certainty the extent of the tests that we may face, it is our responsibility to accept the consequences and therefore to have contemplated and be prepared for them as thoroughly and as reasonably possible. Doubtless there will be dissenting opinions, and I'd much enjoy hearing them...

BTW, that wave board recovery is fantastic! Another here But imagine trying that in rough weather conditions as in the BBC video, which is when you're most likely to have gone over... My thoughts vary from 'shark bait', to being battered to death by the board while attempting to get on it. Note the boat moving at seven knots left the MOB behind in seconds! If you're not tethered, kiss it goodbye! Even if there's a crew, if they didn't see you go over, they won't find you at all unless they spot your strobe in the dark. They'll be too many miles on before they miss you. Just imagine how far astern you'll be in the 30 seconds it takes most MOB warning systems to alarm...

Thanks to Delmarva for providing much very useful information about rock climbing gear that's appropriate and useful for sailors. I've climbed a little and appreciate the feeling of and high level of safety involved with the gear. None of my proposed equipment/gear is expensive!


Quote:
"You start with an empty cup of experience and a full barrel of luck. The trick is to fill your cup before the barrel runs dry." - bljones

Last edited by knotted; 05-29-2011 at 04:37 PM. Reason: updated Annapolis Lifeline Study links
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  #135  
Old 05-29-2011
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Tristan Jones mentioned this

Quote:
Originally Posted by windship View Post
What if you took a small diameter line, say maybe 30 or 40 feet long, tied a bunch of knots about a foot apart at one end and tie the other end to the bottom of the spoked helm wheel. On port tack run the line directly to the stbd rail(opposite when on stbd tack)just in front of a stantion and let it trail behind the boat. If you fall off just grab the line that''s trailing in the water. Pulling on the line will turn the wheel turning the boat into the wind...
Right??

Dennis

Dennis - Many single-handers spend most of the time on auto-pilot. A trip line as you suggest might be rigged to turn "öff" the pilot, encouraging boat to round up into wind allowing unfortunate overboarder a better chance of getting back onboard. Tristan Jones mentioned this in one of his books. SAMUELBURNS
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  #136  
Old 05-31-2011
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I've thought about trailing a line to grab in case I went over the side (I do use a harness at all times while singlehanding), but I doubt I would be able to pull myself up the line to the boat while the boat was moving. Just pulling yourself on the line, through the water while the boat were moving 4 knots or more would be difficult. I think it would be like climbing a vertical rope with only your hands. With wet hands the skin would be stripped off your hands (especially with a polypropolene rope). With sailing gloves you might have a chance.

The only sure way is stay on the boat at all costs.
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Old 05-31-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimofBlindSquirrel View Post
I have done a serious amount of single handed sailing. The best advice I ever got was not to run your jacklines outside the shrouds so that you can walk the length of the boat. This will put you outside the lifelines and in the water every time.
A much better method is to run them right down the center line with a harness that does not allow you to go over the side. You can always leave the harness connected to the jack line, having the end leading into the cockpit. Have a second one in the cockpit for when you are steering or trimming sails.

Once you are off the boat and outside the lifelines you are dead. Carry a sharp knife so you can cut yourself loose if needed, but even in moderate water temps you won't last long. As for the sailor that died on Lake Michigan, he went off the bow and under the lifelines, and dragged to his death. Lifeline webbing at the bow would have saved his life. It was a very tragic accident.
I would put the jack line on the outside of the shrouds. I am clipping on to the highside of the boat, so this shortens the tether even more. Just some food for thought .........i2f
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  #138  
Old 05-31-2011
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i2f, how far are your shrouds from the edge of your boat?

In related news, I'm thinking of running a single long jackline from the bow, inside the shrouds, around behind the mast, and back to the bow. That would mean I could reach anywhere on the boat without unclipping. Also means that the jackline doesn't interfere with sheeting as is currently the case. Anybody tried this?
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  #139  
Old 05-31-2011
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Distances by estimated time:
6 minute rule; shift the decimal point one place to the left, such as if you are doing 8 knots, in 6 minutes you will have gone 8/10 of a Nautical mile or 0.8 NM.

3 minute rule: append two zeros to your speed and that is the distance in yards you will have gone in 3 minutes. 8 knots = 800 yards.

1 minute rule: append two zeros to your speed and that is the distance you have gone in 1 minute in feet. 8 knots = 800 feet.

So it pays to know your speed and the approximate length of time of when you lost old clusky.
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  #140  
Old 06-01-2011
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I have to back up. It has been 20 years. The shrouds were at the toe rail. I use to put the jackline on the outside of the mid cleat. I would also keep the jackline taught by wetting them, and then tightening them. Then when weather came along they would remain in place after getting wet. I used 1 1/2 " webbing......i2f
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